Cleveland Browns Football: Winners and Losers from Browns' Loss vs. Raiders
The 2011 Cleveland Browns keep finding new ways to lose.
Teams are not intimidated by an underwhelming passing attack lead by quarterback Colt McCoy. Receivers don't get open and McCoy cannot deliver the ball to them if they do.
Looking back over the stats and recalling the awful play today, one resounding moment rings clear in my mind.
It was second down and three with 44 seconds left and the Browns failed to gain the three yards necessary for a first down.
On three consecutive attempts.
That, is who this year's Cleveland Browns are.
Winners: Greg Little
Officially starting in his first NFL game, Greg Little impressed. His play provided a rare bright spot to an otherwise bleak afternoon for Cleveland Browns fans.
He caught six of the twelve targets that came his way for a career high 72 yards.
His 16 yard reception stood as the longest play from scrimmage for the Browns on the day.
The more Little sees the field the better and better he gets. The Browns need a play-maker aside from Joshua Cribbs and just may have found one in Little.
Losers: Colt McCoy
Colt McCoy is not a bad quarterback overall. However, his judgement and consistency need to be thoroughly evaluated by the Browns franchise.
McCoy continually threw errant passes, some over receivers heads and some far from their reach when attempting to go down-field.
Some passes had trouble leaving his hands and fluttered incoherently in the vague direction of his receivers.
Blame should not be placed all on McCoy's head. The offense did not play tremendously well and had their share of lapses throughout the afternoon as well.
However, McCoy failed to see impending blitzes during pre-snap reads. Those failures hurt his lineman and their chances of effectively protecting their quarterback.
McCoy needs to be a more efficient passer and better decision maker on Sundays to be a successful NFL quarterback.
Losers: Special Teams
Pat Shurmur and Cleveland Browns' Special Teams Coordinator Chris Tabor must have missed the Raiders fake punt last week against the Houston Texans. Running back Rock Cartwright took the snap and then the ball, as he ran for a 35 yard first down into Texans territory.
Joshua Cribbs was bottled up and the Raiders had their way with the Browns on special teams all afternoon.
Jacoby Ford broke a 102 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Nearing the end of the third quarter, the Raiders gambled again. This time, during a 53 yard field goal attempt. Punter and kick-holder Shane Lechler threw a strike to a releasing Kevin Boss who strolled 35 yards to the end-zone to put the Raiders up 24-7.
On a day that saw the loss of Jason Campbell and limited offensive production for the Raiders, the special teams unit carried them in the game.
For the Browns, this was their undoing.
Losers: Pat Shurmur
The Peyton Hillis drama will likely take a new turn this week following the benching of Hillis. According to NFL.com, it was speculated Hillis was benched until word from the Browns sideline in the third quarter indicated he had a hamstring injury.
Pat Shurmur is clearly in over his head as an NFL head coach. It is clear to see he is being out-coached week to week.
What's also clear is the locker room is not sold on their new coach either. Josh Cribbs claimed he wanted to help the Browns win but his role in the offense is "insignificant" and that he would rather play on special teams.
Cribbs comments, combined with Peyton Hillis' deflecting of questions about the game-plan and his involvement in Week 4 shows a lack of control by the rookie head coach. It also shows an unclear and ineffective use of the talent available at his disposal.
Coming off a bye week a team should not play as inept as the Browns did this afternoon.
It may be time for Pat Shurmur to bring another coordinator into the fold to help with the play-calling duties.
Losers: Browns Fans
Since 1999 the Cleveland Browns fans have been enduring a low-level of play from their favorite franchise. Sure, there were bright spots in 2002 and in 2007 but those passed quickly and are afterthoughts on the minds of most fans.
After the firing of Eric Mangini this past offseason, many including myself believe the winds of change will turn the tides of Cleveland's misfortunes.
For the first time a plan is in place in which the Browns management, personnel directors and coaching staff are all finally on the same page.
In theory, it sounds like a match made in heaven. Will it take more time? Possibly.
After another stale effort, this time coming after a bye, fans are left to question what direction the Browns are going.
The signs of improvement seen in the Browns under Eric Mangini and his staff have disappeared. Roster turnover, younger players and a rookie head coach have resulted in poor execution and performance on Sundays.
The Browns meanwhile are left with yet another rebuilding process and the growing pains that come with it.